Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hell Yes, multigrain sourdough loaf

For a while there, in the beginning of the New Year, I was posting a lot. In the past week or so, though, I just haven't gotten around to it. So apologies, apologies. I haven't NOT been cooking or baking. Of course, I am always creating something in the kitchen. I just didn't have the time to blog it. So, over the last ten days, the most memorable food creations have been: Potato Leek Soup, Lavash/Squash/Jack Cheese layered baked thing and, drum roll, please, multigrain sourdough loaf!

One thing that is easily lacking in my house at any given time is bread. For some reason, loaves of bread are not bought. Not regularly, at least. You know, there's always some Eli's health loaf in the freezer, in case of emergencies, but no bread easily accessible in the rare occurrence of a craving for PB&J.
So today, I made use of my sourdough starter, which usually just sits in the fridge, waiting to be poked at and refreshed. I will start the recipe for multigrain sourdough loaf bread by assuming you have a mother starter accessible. If you do NOT have a mother starter, I will post one very very soon. It's easy to make, only takes about a week. I've had mine for a few months now, and it's very easy to keep alive, needing only minimal care now and again.

So basically, you want to use some (2/3 c) of your mother starter to create a firm starter. To do this, mix 2/3 c of your mother starter with 1 c flour and 1/4 c water. Stir, by hand, adding water if necessary, and form into a ball. Let rise in room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, in greased bowl, 6 hours, then refrigerate overnight.
Firm starter is now ready to use.
You also want to mix some grains and let them soak, overnight, in minimal amounts of water. I used 3 T polenta, 3 T rolled oats, 3 T bran, and 1/4 c water.

6 oz firm starter, cut into 5-6 pieces
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c milk
1/2 c water
soaked grains (from night before)
3 T brown sugar
pinch salt
1 T honey

Mix with a spoon all the ingredients. Then knead for 15 min, or more, until dough is as elastic as possible (whole wheat flour is not exactly elastic, so just knead a lot until it doesn't tear when you bend it--tearing at the surface indicates less developed webs of gluten = bad bread). You can also use an electric kitchenaid mixer, which is super easy, but less "in touch" with your bread.
Once dough is mixed, put in greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise 3-4 hrs.
Now shape the dough. You basically want to lay the dough out in the shape of a rectangle, and roll it up, lengthwise, or fold it on itself, lengthwise, and then sort of seal it that way, make a seam. Then lay this rolled up dough, seam side down, in a greased loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise another 3-4 hours.
Bake 45 minutes on 350, with convection on. If you don't have convection, just turn the pan 180 degrees halfway through cooking.
When bread is done, remove from oven, and invert loaf out of pan asap. Let cool at least one hour.

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